“Gen Silent” explores challenges facing the elderly LGBT community

Gen Silent PosterThere are almost 38 million LGBT Americans over the age of 65. This number is expected to double by 2030. Yet in a Fenway Institute study fifty percent of nursing home workers said that their co-workers are intolerant of LGBT people. That collision of a rapidly aging queer population and a nursing home system ill-prepared to serve them is explored in Gen Silent, a documentary showing at the GLBT Cultural Center (401 Branard) on Thursday, January 26, at 6:30 pm.

Gen Silent, from award-winning director and documentary filmmaker Stu Maddux, follows six LGBT seniors as they struggle to make decisions about their twilight years. These seniors put a face on what experts in the film call an epidemic: gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender seniors so afraid of discrimination in long-term health care that many go back into the closet.

Gen Silent startlingly discovers how oppression in the years before Stonewall now leaves many elders not just afraid but dangerously isolated and at risk on not receiving medical care. The film shows the wide range in quality of paid caregivers –from those who are specifically trained to make LGBT seniors feel safe, to the other end of the spectrum, where LGBT elders face discrimination, neglect or abuse, including shocking bed-side attempts by staff to persuade seniors to give up their “sinful” lifestyles.

This free screening will be followed by a call-to-action and panel discussion with some of Houston’s GLBT senior leaders.

View the trailer for Gen Silent after the break.

—  admin

World AIDS Day event planned in Plano

Roseann Rosetti opening a Quilt panel

In addition to co-sponsoring the World AIDS Day event at the new Main Street Garden in Dallas, C.U.R.E. will host a commemoration in Plano.

Billed as a ceremony of healing and hope, the Plano gathering will remember people lost to AIDS. Panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display. It takes place at Community Unitarian Universalist Church at 2875 East Parker Road. Plano-based Health Services of North Texas is also sponsoring.

“Our ceremony will include the dedication of new panels created by family and friends of a loved one lost to AIDS,” said C.U.R.E. co-founder Roseann Rosetti. “The new panels will be presented to The Names Project Foundation to be included as part of the nationally acclaimed AIDS Memorial Quilt.”

Anyone with a new panel to present may attend the ceremony.

“If you would like to present a panel in honor of someone you know and love, C.U.R.E. will be honored have you dedicate and present your panel at our World AIDS Day ceremony,” Rosetti said.

The panels will be sent to the Names Project’s home in Atlanta to be sewn into blocks for exhibit.

—  David Taffet

We Were Here, AIDS documentary at 14 Pews

We Were HereWe Were Here, the award winning documentary of the early days of the AIDS crisis, premiers at 14 Pews theater (800 Aurora) Saturday, November 20, at 4:30 pm. The film, from director David Weissman, will be proceeded by a panel discussion on the state of the AIDS crisis today.

I came out in 1998, right at the tail end of the worst days of the AIDS crisis. I remember, with vivid clarity, the days of the walking wounded: when every other gay man I met would tell how their doctor said they should have died five years ago, when the community told time by recalling if an event took place before or after a certain person’s funeral.

Fortunately those days are largely behind us, but as new HIV infections continue to rise and we struggle to maintain funding for medications that are keeping people alive (at a cost of thousands of dollars a month), it’s important that we never forget the early days of the pandemic. For people of my generation and younger the mysterious “Gay Plague” that threatened our community in the early eighties can seem more like a fairy tale monster than the horrifying crisis it was, and is.

We Were Here tells the real life stories of five people who survived. Their mundane and profound recollections highlight, not only their personal experiences, but the broad political and social upheavals unleashed by the crisis. From their different vantage points as caregivers, activists, researchers, as friends and lovers of the afflicted, and as people with AIDS themselves, the interviewees share stories which are not only intensely personal, but which also illuminate the much larger themes of that era: the political and sexual complexities, and the terrible emotional toll. The film highlights the role of women – particularly lesbians – in caring for and fighting for their gay brothers.

Tickets for We Were Here are $10 and can be purchased at 14pews.org.

After the jump watch the trailer for We Were Here.

—  admin

No DOMA, ENDA or DADT, but how about a panel at a conference?

From National Journal:

HELP FOR GAYS. Eager to soothe jagged relationships with an impatient gay community, the White House is dispatching two senior members of its personnel office, as well as Fred Hochberg, the chairman of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, to hold a workshop with gay rights leaders and donors in town for the annual Victory Fund Gay and Lesbian Leadership Conference. A workshop will include advice from White House officials on how to “enhance your application and boost your chances for nomination or appointment,” the conference program promises.


—  admin

Join HRC TODAY at 4 PM EST for Virtual Adoption Film Screening & Q&A Panel

Join HRC for a live streaming of the documentary Living Adoption: Gay Parents Speak today at 4pm EST. The film offers an honest look at the experiences of a diverse array of gay adoptive parents and their families. Viewers will learn about LGBT-specific adoption resources and hear first-hand from those who’ve already experienced the joy of adoption. Viewers can participate in a live Q&A with a panel including adoption experts.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see Gay Parents Speak and get your adoption questions answered live! Join us at 4 PM EST at www.hrc.org/gayparentsspeak.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

Haters Already Crying About Prop 8 Panel

The judges for next week’s hearing on the overturn of Proposition 8 have been selected and the wingnuts are already screaming about judicial activists!!11one!

Via National Review:

The Ninth Circuit has just announced that the panel hearing the appeal of Judge Vaughn Walker’s anti-Prop 8 ruling will consist of Stephen Reinhardt, Michael D. Hawkins, and N. Randy Smith. As regular Bench Memos readers know, Reinhardt (appointed by President Carter in 1980) may well be the most aggressive liberal judicial activist in the nation—and the most reversed judge in history. Hawkins, a 1994 Clinton appointee, is also regularly on the Left on the Ninth Circuit. Smith, who was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2007, is much more of a judicial conservative.

The hearing is set for next Monday and as of today its telecast is still planned.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

FDA Panel Says Yes to Keeping Little Gay Boys From Developing Anal Cancer As Sex-Crazed Adults

Back in February we were wondering whether the FDA was going to get behind a HPV vaccine for boys to prevent HPV-causing anal cancer, the same way it does for girls and cervical cancer. Good news!


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—  admin

Report from today’s NYU Law’s panel: ‘Are Conservatives the Most Effective LGBT Advocates?’

Scott Blair, an AMERICAblog reader and NYU Law student, last wrote to us from Miami, where he was attending Lavender Law, the National LGBT Bar Association Annual Meeting. Today, he attened a panel at NYU’s Law School titled, “The Log Cabin Republicans’ Victory Against ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’: Are Conservatives the Most Effective LGBT Advocates?” The event was held in collaboration with NYU OutLaw. They had quite a panel. Here’s Scott’s report:

Today, NYU Law had a panel on DADT, Log Cabin Republicans v. The United States, and the state of the repeal of DADT after the Republican-led filibuster. Speaking at the panel were Richard Socarides, Bill Clinton’s LGBT advisor, R. Clarke Cooper, the Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans, and Aaron Tax, the Legal Director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). The panel was moderated by Kenji Yoshino, a professor of Constitutional Law at the NYU School of Law.

Oddly, the panel didn’t focus so much on the legal strategy and prospects at the 9th Circuit and Supreme court of Log Cabin Republicans, but rather on how we ended up with no legislative repeal in site. The panel began with a discussion from Richard about how we ended up with DADT, and putting the failure of Clinton’s plan to let gays and lesbians serve openly in historic perspective. Even into George H.W. bush’s presidency, being gay was a possible security risk; no major countries let gays and lesbians serve openly; and the Democratic Chair of the Armed Services Committee, along with Colin Powell, came out forcefully opposed to the repeal, hosting a meeting of the Armed Services Committee in a submarine’s quarters to illustrate how gays would have to share bunk beds with straights. The media remained stuck on the issue, and Clinton, seeking a victory, worked with Barney Frank and others to come up with “Don’t’ Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue.”

There was an interesting remark from Richard about Clinton’s claim a few months back that he was told by Powell that DADT would let gay servicemen attend pride parades, live with a partner, etc. so long as they weren’t out at work. Quoting Richard, “That’s an example of all of us remembering what we want to remember. There’s a lot more to it.” As Kenji pointed out, immediately after DADT was passed, expulsions of gay and lesbians skyrocketed.

The panel then turned to Aaron discussing the law’s consequences, the extent of which may be unknown to even many proponents of repeal. Among SLDN’s clients have been a soldier who told his father he was gay, who then reported it to the military to get him discharged; people who told friends or family members they were gay before joining the military, and have it reach an enemy in the chain of command. Among the absurdities: a man who was threatened with discharge because he had a photograph with his arm around another man in his locker. The military stopped pursuing his discharge when he informed them it was a family photo with his cousin.

Clarke Cooper then talked about his experience on the case, which actually began
back in 2004, and then it moved onto his view of the Log Cabin Republicans. Given the fact that every single Republican filibustered the Defense Authorization bill which said that DADT would be repealed if the Joint Chiefs and the President sign on, there was a bit of flack from the audience about why they were pushing for more Republicans in Congress given their uniform opposition to gay rights. Cooper claimed that there were Republicans onboard for pushing for repeal, but Harry Reid’s procedural shenanigans made them all fall in line with the party and if it’s voted on after the elections it would get Republican support.

(I will say he isn’t the only person to make this claim. Servicemembers United made a similar claim in the period immediately before and after the failed vote.)

More interesting was the claim that when the Log Cabins lobbied for DADT’s repeal, they were often told by Republican Congressmen that they were the first people to visit and actually lobby for the repeal. I suspect this isn’t true, given what I know of SLDN, but it was worth mentioning. He was honest that the Republicans are less gay-friendly than the Democrats (to put it mildly), but I am sympathetic by the idea that if no one is pushing for gay rights in the GOP, then they will never change. I’d be more sympathetic if even “pro-gay” Republicans like Snowe and Brown didn’t vote against gay rights, but take it for what it’s worth. And more compelling is that the RNC has asked the Log Cabins to run campaign ads for GOP candidates in New York state, and that, compared to in the early 1990s, people are actively seeking their endorsements. And Cooper certainly had a point when he said whether you like it or not, the Democrats will not pass any legislation without some GOP support.

Ultimately, though, everyone at the panel was convinced that the Log Cabin Republicans’ victory has helped to keep the prospect of repeal alive. The sky hasn’t fallen since the repeal was issued, and despite the Pentagon’s claims, repeal won’t entail a host of new regulations and a new problem for the school. As Aaron Tax said, “all the repeal will do is not fire people for being gay.”


—  admin

Tune in: Signorile, panel give late summer closet-cleaning advice

SignorileOn today’s edition of The Michelangelo Signorile Show” (Sirius 109/XM 98, 2-4PM ET), guests Mike Rogers, Michael Tripplett, and LZ Granderson will join the eponymous host for a discussion on “outing” in the age of Mehlman.

Full press release:


In the wake of discussions this year about Federal Judge Vaughn Walker (who overturned Proposition 8) and former RNC Chairman and Bush ‘04 campaign manager Ken Mehlman, SIRIUS XM’s Michelangelo Signorile will host and moderate a panel discussion called “20 Years Later: Outing and the Ethics of Reporting on the Sexual Orientation of Public Figures” live from the 20th Annual National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) LGBT Media Summit & National Convention in San Francisco, CA.

Signorile will host this discussion live on his daily SIRIUS XM show on Friday, September 3 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm ET (replays 4:00 – 6:00 pm ET) on OutQ, SIRIUS channel 109/XM channel 98. Panelists include:

– LZ Granderson, columnist for ESPN.com’s Page 2, host of web-based ESPN360 talk show “Game Night”

– Michael R. Triplett, contributor, Mediaite.com, part of the NLGJA Board of Directors and member of the NLGJA Rapid Response Task Force

– Michael Rogers of PageOneQ.com and BlogActive.com

For over two decades SIRIUS XM host Michelangelo Signorile has been among the most outspoken and controversial critics of American politics and culture. As a gay activist and journalist, he earned acclaim as the father of the “outing” phenomenon, sparked by his 1990 Outweek cover story about publishing magnate Malcolm Forbes’ homosexuality. He has continued to be on the forefront of reporting on these issues for his whole career, in-depth coverage of Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Mark Kirk, Mark Buse and others. Signorile was featured in Kirby Dick’s movie Outrage.

Signorile covers the issues of the day in-depth daily on The Michelangelo Signorile Show, his live, four-hour call-in show on SIRIUS XM’s OutQ, the nation’s 24/7 LGBT channel, engaging in an active and ongoing dialogue with listeners across the country on the air as he reports, comments, rants and madly obsesses about politics, media, pop culture and a host of other things that irk and interest him and interviews a variety of newsmakers and community leaders. The Michelangelo Signorile Show airs weekdays from 2:00 – 6:00 pm ET on OutQ—SIRIUS channel 109/XM channel 98. OutQ is trailblazer in LGBT media, offering groundbreaking coverage of social and political issues, as well as music and entertainment programming, all of which is produced by and for the LGBT community. Signorile continues the dialogue and posts daily commentary audio clips and more on his widely read blog/site: www.signorile.com.

Good As You

—  John Wright

LGBT legal panel: There hasn’t been ‘real change’ under Obama

Last week, John wrote a post about the LGBT Law Association conference, noting the panel on LGBT issues and the Obama administration included a slew of Obama apologists. That panel took place today.

Scott Blair, an AMERICAblog reader and NYU Law student, wrote to us from Miami, where he is attending Lavender Law, the National LGBT Bar Association Annual Meeting. He was at the plenary session, “Real Change: LGBT Issues and the Obama Administration.” Scott provided his observations:

When I first saw the event, I don’t think I was alone in expecting it to be a mostly celebratory piece on President Obama’s accomplishments. Instead, there seemed to be a consensus, even from the most vehement supporters of Obama, that the President has failed to follow through on his promises to the LGBT community and has been in many ways a disappointment.

The panel consisted of Matt Nosanchuck (Senior Counselor to the Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice), Paul Smith (a partner at Jenner & Block LLP, Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of Lambda Legal), Courtney Joslin (a Professor at UC Davis and the chair of the ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity), Elaine Kaplan (General Counsel at the Office of Personnel Management), Jon Davidson (Legal Director at Lambda Legal), and Tobias Barrington Wolff (Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania and Obama’s LGBT Advisor during his campaign).

The panel opened with a discussion of the Office of Personnel Management and the DOJ listing the changes brought under the Obama administration, along with some surprising information. Matt cited the passage of the hate crime bill as something that we can attribute to President Obama, and gave credit to the DOJ’s testimony in Congress in support of the bill, and President Obama’s support for it. Surprisingly, Matt referred to Matthew Shepard Act as a heavy lift in Congress, with attacks from both the left and the right. Along with lifting the HIV travel ban, and (perhaps most significantly), the fact that federal agencies can’t discriminate on the basis of gender identity, there seemed to be a feeling that the White House had accomplished a great deal in what’s clearly been a hostile environment for any sort of legislation. The rest of the panel was, however, far from convinced.

I could give a blow by blow of the panel, but a lot of it is familiar to AMERICAblog readers. The DOJ claimed it had a duty to defend all laws so long as they could be constitutional; Jon pointed out numerous instances where the DOJ has not defended a law.

The highlights were as follows:

1) Nobody could explain where ENDA went to, in light of the repeated promises (which were pointed out by the panel) from Pelosi, Barney Frank, and the rest of the Democratic leadership that we would have a vote on this soon. The explanation for this was put on the “worsening political situation,” but as Jon pointed out, the window of opportunity for LGBT legislation is closing. As one panelist put it, “We are eighteen months into the Obama administration with no federal protection based on sexual orientation. This is remarkable.”

It was pointed out that the federal government now bans discrimination in federal employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This does not seem a comfort to LGBT individuals facing discrimination in the private industry, but the only person on the panel who thought ENDA had a chance of passing this year was Tobias Wolff, who suggested it could pass in a lame duck session. The rest of the panel seemed to think it was dead.

2) DADT proved surprisingly divisive. Everyone on the panel who discussed it expressed unhappiness that Obama has not issued a stop-loss order to stop expelling soldiers. The DOJ was criticised for arguing that gays and lesbians are only entitled to rational basis protection, which unfortunately Matt didn’t get a chance to address directly. Tobias claims that the repeal only happened this year due to White House pressure, and this is why we saw Ben Nelson and other senators support the compromise. Jon was critical of the compromise, which does not indicate when we will stop expelling gay and lesbian soldiers. And concern was expressed that the Democrats may not pass it before they lose control of the House. What this meant was unclear; several panelists (those not working for the DADT) were also unhappy about the shape of the “survey” about DADT. I think there’s a fear that the survey results will be negative, and then the Democrats will lose control of the House, leaving Obama to say “Too bad, so sad.”

3) Marriage oddly attracted the most attention. Tobias, who was perhaps the most supportive of the president’s position, agreed that “The president is flat wrong. He is in the wrong place on this issue. I spent a year and a half as the campaign’s principal representative saying that on the record,” but no one on the campaign criticized Tobias for disagreeing with the president. Tobias also thought that, “given the existential threats”, such as the economy and health care, it’s not surprising LGBT legislation has gotten so little coverage. Jon disagreed vehemently; as he put it, why can’t the president walk and chew gum at the same time? “It may be the best administration we’ve ever had, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask for what we deserve.”

Courtney pointed out her role in getting the American Bar Association to pass a resolution supporting the right of same-sex couples to marry, which recently passed overwhelmingly. She didn’t mention it, but I couldn’t help but think that a Democratic president who studied constitutional law is now to the right of the American Bar Association.

There wasn’t time for Q&A during the panel, but I did get to ask Matt a question afterwards about the DOJ’s stance that it has a duty to defend the constitutionality of all laws. In Perry, Republican governor Schwarzenegger and the Attorney General of California both decided that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional, and argued so in court. This seems to be analogous to Obama deciding that DOMA or DADT were unconstitutional, and so I asked Matt whether he thought California had made the wrong decision by refusing to defend Proposition 8’s constitutionality.

His answer was a bit unclear; he wasn’t sure about how the balance of powers were allocated in California (presumably Schwarzenegger is some sort of God-Emperor whose word is law), and he said Proposition 8 different because it was a constitutional amendment that passed by referendum, unlike a piece of legislation that was passed by Congress. This seems to be a very, very thin reed on which to draw. Matt’s stance is also a bit ironic, because in the campaign for California’s Attorney General, Democrats are urging the GLBT community to donate to the Democratic candidate because he wouldn’t defend Proposition 8. (The GOP Candidate for Attorney General did oppose Proposition 8, but thinks it’s the duty of the government to defend all laws).

I’ll conclude with a comment from Tobias, which seemed to reflect Elaine and Matt’s views as well. He argued that “for the first time, gay Americans have a government which cares about them.” Maybe. But I wonder if any of the soldiers who have been discharged on Obama’s watch think he cares about them. And I wonder if gay couples across the nation think a president who still believes they shouldn’t get married think that Obama is the president we deserve.

-Scott Blair
NYU Law, Class of 2011

Thanks for the excellent report, Scott.


—  John Wright